Saturday, June 23, 2018

Housing Justice, Poverty and Early Christians



For this First Day's Quaker Bible study, we will be reflecting on Acts 4:32-37 and also Acts 5, the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Here are some questions and quotations to help stimulate our reflections:


Early Christians held everything in common
and there was no poverty among them  (Act 4:32-34)

·         In what way was the social life and teaching of early Christians like socialism or communism, and how was it different?

·         What is the relationship between “being of one heart and soul” and sharing all things in common? How did this way of life reflect the power of the holy spirit?

·         According to Act 4, 34. “there was no needy person among them.” How does that apply to today’s world? Are Christians/Quakers called to end poverty?

·         What do you find troubling in the story of Ananias and Sapphira?

·         Do you feel that they deserved to die for not telling the truth when they laid only some of their possessions at the apostles’ feet?

·         According to Peter, Satan led Ananias to lie about holding back from giving all his possessions to the community. What does this say about the nature of Satan (and God)?

·         What do you feel is the purpose of this text?


Early Christian Teachings on Wealth and Poverty

You are not making a gift of your possession to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his.” –Ambrose of Milan, 340-397.

“The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you put into the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help but fail to help.” –Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

 “Instead of the tithes which the law commanded, the Lord said to divide everything we have with the poor. And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies, and to be givers and sharers not only with the good but also to be liberal givers toward those who take away our possessions.” –Irenaeus, 130-200 AD

“How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?” –Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

“The property of the wealthy holds them in chains . . . which shackle their courage and choke their faith and hamper their judgment and throttle their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.” Cyprian, 300 A.D.


John Woolman on Wealth and War

"O, that we who declare war against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding onto money! May we look upon our estates, our treasures, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these, our possessions."

"To turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pasadena’s Faith and Community Leaders Call on the City Council to House Homeless Seniors at Heritage Square South


“Homeless housing is a moral imperative and a matter of social justice.”

As people of faith and conscience, we call upon the Pasadena City Council to approve homeless housing at Heritage Square South, a property on the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange Grove purchased fifteen years ago with HUD and other funding for affordable housing. 
The Housing Department has determined that this site is ideal for homeless housing and could accommodate 69 homeless seniors, a population that has increased 65% over the past three years. Funding to build permanent supportive housing is available through federal, state, and county sources.
Pasadena’s homeless population has soared in the last three years. According to the 2018 Homeless Count, “the sharpest increases were seen among those living on the street, in parks, encampments, vehicles and other places not fit for human habitation.” This vulnerable population increased 33% in the past year. The count also notes that “half of respondents living on the street were living in Pasadena when they most recently lost their housing.” The survey concludes that “people living on the streets are our neighbors.”
As people of faith and conscience, we feel that we have a moral obligation to ensure that our homeless neighbors are housed with dignity.
Despite this urgent need to house our homeless neighbors, the City Council is considering selling this property to a commercial developer, which would mean forfeiting a million dollars to HUD. We are deeply disturbed that this option is being seriously considered.
On Monday, June 11, the City Council turned over $472,399 in redevelopment successor funds to a homeless housing project in Los Angeles. These funds were slated for permanent supportive housing in Pasadena but could not be used here because for the past three years the Council has not approved any permanent supportive housing (PSH) projects, including Heritage Square South. This is an unconscionable loss to our city.
We are deeply concerned about this lack of homeless housing since studies show that PHS is the best practice to end homelessness.
The City Council does not have a single PHS project in the pipeline, even though funding is available for such housing and even though “high rents and a shortage of housing” is a major cause of homelessness in our city, according to the 2018 Homeless Count.
We feel that our City is morally obligated to house our homeless population, especially since we have the land and the funding to do so.
We urge the City Council to take immediate action to approve homeless housing at Heritage Square South. We regard this as a moral imperative and a matter of social justice.


“Give shelter to the homeless” (Isaiah 58:7).


Donna Hess, Property Manager, Heritage Square North

Rev. Inman Moore, Sierra Madre UMC

Pastor Tera Klein, Throop Church

Rabbi Jonathan Klein, CLUELA

Pastor Dan Davison, Rose City Church

Tarek Shawky, Muslim attorney

Rev. Sandy K. Olewine, First United Methodist Church of Pasadena

Rev William Turner, Jr.- New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church

Pastor John Stewart, New Guiding Light Church

Rev Jeff Utter, retired UCC pastor

Elbert Newton, Mennonite author, activist, homeless service provider

Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (GPAHG)





Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Shape of Water: A Spiritual and Biblical Perspective






The Shape of Water is a strangely beautiful fantasy drama directed and mostly written by Guillermo Del Toro, a Mexican film maker who won an Academy Award for best director. 

The story depicts a mute woman named Elisa Esposito who is abandoned as a baby at the side of a river with her vocal chords severed. Elisa works as a cleaning woman in a laboratory in Baltimore in the early 1960s. Her best friends are Giles, a gay man, and a black co-worker named Zelda Delilah Fuller. The plot centers on Elisa's relationship with a creature from the Amazon jungle that is brought to the lab to be the object of Cold War experimentation. Elisa and this creature end up falling in love, much like beauty and the beast.

This film has many biblical resonances that add depth and meaning to this mythic story. For example, Elisa’s birth is reminiscent of Moses’, who was also abandoned by a river and later became a liberator of his oppressed people. Elisa liberates a creature who is oppressed, and represents indigenous people. Like Elsa, Moses had a speech impediment and needed his brother Aaron to be his spokesperson. Elisa’s spokesperson is her gay friend Giles, who narrates the film.
Some have noted that the creature (also known as the Amphibian or "Asset") can be seen as a Christ figure. Early Christians used the symbol of the fish since the Greek word for fish  'Ichthys" formed an  acrostic: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.
Jesus was associated with water since he was baptized in the River Jordan, referred to himself as Living Water,walked on water, etc. Water is a symbol of transformation, purification, and liberation among Jews. God parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River so that Hebrews could escape oppression and enter the Promised Land. Paul describes baptism as a death and resurrection experience:

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans  6:4).

Water baptism, practiced by immersion in the early church, created a parallel between fish and converts. Second-century theologian Tertullian put it this way: "we, little fishes, after the image of our Ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in the water."
Another biblical reference is the story of Ruth and Naomi. In the theater below Elisa's apartment, the movie "The Story of Ruth" is playing. This movie was released in 1960 and is based on the biblical story, with Hollywood additions. In the movie Ruth is portrayed as Moabite idolatress who is converted to monotheism by her husband, the son of a Jewish emigre named Naomi. The biblical story is about how Naomi's family is forced to leave their hometown of Bethlehem due to a famine. An economic immigrant, Naomi and her family move to Moab, a place despised by Jews because of its idolatry and checkered history (the Moabites were descendants of Lot, who committed incest with his daughter). 
I don't know how much of this story the director Del Toro knew, but certainly he knew that Ruth, a Moabite, became so close to her mother-in-law that she left her own people and embraced the God and culture of Naomi. Ruth returned to Bethlehem, worked on a farm as an impoverished gleaner (much like a Mexican farm worker), but was able to attract the attention of the farm owner Boaz because of her beauty and good character. Because Ruth was a relative through Naomi, she eventually married Boaz and had children by him.
This Moabiite immigrant not only became a Jew, she became the grandmother of King David and is regarded by Christians as the ancestor of Jesus. How could Del Toro not love this amazing story about an immigrant woman whose success had such far-reaching implications? The relationship between Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law not only helped them to survive, together they created an ancestral line that transformed the course of history. 
This story illustrates the transforming power of relationships between people who come from very different backgrounds. This is also the central theme of Del Toro's movie. A mute woman has a deep, transformative relationship with a gay man. A black and white woman form a deep friendship that redeems their lives. And most significant of all, a human forms a relationship with a creature that is not human, but "amphibian," able to live in the world of water and of air. 
The word amphibian literally means having a dual life. This would be an apt description of Jesus the Christ since he had a dual life, fully divine, fully human, Spirit made flesh 
This theology of life-giving relationships is contrasted with the theology of the main male character in this movie, Colonel Strickland, the US intelligence officer who prides himself on being "strict" and successful. He has no empathy for others. When he discovers a strange creature in the Amazon that is worshiped as a god by indigenous people, he captures it, tortures it to "tame" it, and finally tries to kill it so it can be dissected and studied for military purposes. 
Colonel Strickland's theology is based on the cult of individualism, epitomized in the story of Samson. He sees himself as a lone strong man fighting in a world of enemies, whether they be Russians or women. Women like Delilah are his enemies since they have a will and a voice of their own. Like the creature he calls an "Asset" (i.e. a military resource), women are inferior beings to Strickland. He sees God as made in his image--a privileged white man. In a conversation with the black cleaning lady Zelda Delilah Fuller he says that the creature is not human since humans are made in God's image. "I'm made in God's image," says Strickland. "The creature doesn't look like me. So it's not human." He also notes that Zelda isn't quite made in God's image either, since she is a woman and black. 
All the characters in this movie struggle with feeling like isolated individuals in an unfriendly world. But Zelda, Elisa, Giles and the Ambiphian are saved from their isolation through self-sacrificial friendship and love. Strickland ends up totally alone, abandoned even by his father figure, General Hoyt. Like Trump, Hoyt sees the world purely in terms of winners and losers. If Strickland fails in his mission, he is a loser and consigned to the "universe of shit." There is no room in the theology of the domination system for failure. There is no grace. 
At one point in the movie, Giles asks Elisa why she is so concerned about the creature since it is not human. This leads Elisa to struggle with the ultimate question, what does it mean to be human? The creature has feelings and can understand language, but is that what makes us human? Finally, Elisa decides to flip the question. She concludes, "I don't know if the creature is human, but I know that if we don't try to save it, we aren't human."
What defines "human" for Elisa is our compassion, our yearning to save and protect those we love. This movie places this love in a context that is deeply spiritual. I don't want to be a spoiler and reveal the ending of this movie, but the final scene leaves us with the same question that we must face at Easter: do we or do we not believe in a power that can transcend death? If we surrender ourselves to the power of love, if we are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, if we are willing to take the plunge and die to self, as true baptism requires, do we have faith that we will live a "new life" that is eternal? This is the ultimate question, one that this movie leaves it up to us to answer


Monday, June 11, 2018

Religious Leaders of Pasadena Call for Housing Homeless Seniors at Heritage Square South

There is a growing consensus among religious leaders in Pasadena that the City Council should approve homeless housing at Heritage Square South. This parcel of land on the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange Grove was purchased by the City for affordable housing fifteen years ago. For political reasons, it has been left vacant, except for leasing part of it to Church’s Chicken.
Because the city is facing a growing homelessness crisis, with the number of homeless seniors increasing by 65% in the past three years, many members of the religious community in Pasadena are calling on the City Council to take immediate action and use this “affordable housing asset” to build urgently needed permanent supportive housing. Two prayer vigils have taken place on this site. The first vigil took place on March 11 and drew around 30 people, including Pastor Jerred McDaniels. See March 11 prayer vigil 

    June 8th Interfaith vigil


The interfaith vigil that took place at Heritage Square South on Friday, June 8, drew
Lorinda Hawkins
50-60 people, including religious leaders, activists and our homeless neighbors. It began with Rev. Dr. Larry Campbell leading us in a moving prayer and ended with Muslim attorney Tarek Shawky chanting the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic as the sun set.
Around a dozen people spoke, including Mel Tillekeratne, an activist with an LA group called “Shedoes.” This group helps house homeless women and stands in solidarity with groups throughout the LA area that are seeking to create homeless housing.
 After our time of prayer and reflection, we had a shared meal with our homeless neighbors at Church’s Chicken.
Left to right: Beth, Anthony, Daniel and Buddy
Seven of us slept overnight on the sidewalk on Fair Oaks to be in solidarity with our homeless neighbors, some of whom joined us. We posted a banner on the fence that said: “House our Homeless Neighbors” –Isaiah 58:7-- on Heritage Square South.” We tried our best to sleep but it wasn’t easy with traffic roaring by at 50 mph and firetrucks barreling by every hour or two. 
Even though it wasn’t very comfortable sleeping outdoors, we were better off than our homeless
neighbors. That’s why my Muslim brother Tarek gave away his lounge chair and I gave my sleeping bag and mat to an elderly African American woman who had only a thread-bare blanket to sleep on. 
The list of religious leaders in Pasadena who took part in the June 8th vigil and support homeless housing on this site includes:

·         Rev. Dr. Larry Campbell of the First AME Church of Pasadena
·         Rev. Jeff Utter, UCC pastor
·         Tarek Shawky, Muslim attorney and religious leader
·         Claire Gorfinkel, member of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and retired staff person with the American Friends Service Committee
·         Jill Shook, GPAHG
·         Anthony Manousos (organizer and Quaker)

Other leaders who wanted to attend but sent regrets include: Jonathan Klein of
Pastor Campbell and his wife Melinda 
CLUE 
and his wife Tera Klein of Throop Church; Pastor Terry Turrentine of the Deliverance Tabernacle Church of God in Christ; Rev. Mathew Coldwell of Knox Presbyterian Church; Dan Davison, pastor of Rose City Church; Pastor Kerwin Manning of the Pasadena Church; and Rabbi Joshua Grater of Friends In Deed. Other religious leaders who took part in our meetings include Rev William Turner and Pastor John Stuart.
The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), the oldest association of African American pastors in Pasadena,
Debra Frances (NAACP), teenagers and
 Francois Dubucheron
is calling on the City Council to house our homeless neighbors on Heritage Square South
. Orange Grove Quaker Meeting, of which I am a member, unanimously approved the following statement to be sent to the City Council:

Orange Grove Quaker Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends urges the Pasadena City Council to approve using Heritage Square South to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless seniors. The need to house this vulnerable population is urgent since the number of homeless seniors increased 65% over the past three years, from 153 in 2016 to 253 in 2018. The overall homeless count increased 28% in the past two years, from 530 to 677.[1]  We feel that housing our homeless neighbors is an issue of social justice as well as a moral imperative for our City.

Claire Gorfinkel
Statement by Claire Gorfinkel:

My name is Claire Gorfinkel and I am pleased to bring a Jewish perspective to this interfaith vigil and call for affordable housing for homeless seniors.
As Jews, we are motivated by a deep sense of obligation.  Like Muslims who fast for Ramadan, we do not view our obligations as a burden or a chastisement, but as sacred opportunities which enable us to engage with the divine, with one another and the wider world.
“Welcoming the stranger,” providing shelter and hospitality is one of our most fundamental obligations, as is it for Muslims and Christians, because the central narrative of our people asserts that we too were once homeless wanderers, after having endured generations of thankless labor in Egypt. 
Tikkun olam, repairing the world, is another Jewish obligation which we share with our Muslim and Christian colleagues and people of good will throughout the world.  We feel called upon to steadfastly work for justice, in this case to demand that our civic leaders support construction of permanent supportive housing for members of the community who have been marginalized and made to feel unwelcome.
Along with people of all faiths, we recognize that everyone, everyone is made in the image of that which we call God; everyone carries within them a spark of the divine.  Everyone, regardless of race, gender identity, religion, national origin or economic status, is deserving of our respect.  Everyone deserves to be sheltered and fed.  Homeless people are our neighbors and with an unexpected twist of fortune, they might be ourselves or our family members. 
Let us commit ourselves to work for affordable housing and to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of those who currently seek shelter.
As Muslims break their fast today and the Jewish Sabbath begins, I would offer this prayer:
Baruch atah Adonai,  Eloheinu melech ha’olam,  asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav,  l’asok   b’tzor’chei   ha’tzibor.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with obligations, and commanded us to immerse ourselves in the needs of the community.
And let us say, Amen.







[1] See the official homeless count for Pasadena: http://pasadenanow.com/documents/PasadenaHomelessCount2018.pdf

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Program for Interfaith Prayer Vigil at Church's Chicken on June 8




Join us for an interfaith prayer vigil and shared meal on Friday, June 8, at 7:00 pm at Church’s Chicken, 710 N Fair Oaks (on the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange Grove)

This property (known as South Heritage Square) was purchased by the city of Pasadena
fifteen years ago with HUD and other funding for affordable housing and could house 69 homeless seniors, but it has been left vacant, except for being leased to Church’s Chicken. Thanks to Vice Mayor John Kennedy, who brought this to the attention of the City Council, we now have a golden opportunity to support using this land to house  homeless seniors.  

Our action will bring together Muslims, Christians, Jews and other community members who care about social justice and the poor. We’re gathering during the month of Ramadan, so please consider fasting during this day, if you feel so led, to be in solidarity with the poor. Some of us are also planning to sleep out on the street after this vigil and you are welcome to join us. If you feel led, please also consider paying for the meal of a homeless neighbor.  

This action is part of the Poor People’s Campaign, which was started by Dr. King fifty years ago and has been revived by Rev. Will Barber, in a nation-wide effort to call attention to our nation’s escalating poverty.  It is being organized by GPAHG, the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.
 
Below are instructions and the program for our vigil and sleepover. 

Religious leaders speaking at our event:
 
  • Rev. Dr. Larry Campbell of the First AME Church of Pasadena
  • Pastor Terry Turrentine of the Deliverance Tabernacle Church of God in Christ
  • Tarek Shawky, Muslim attorney and religious leader
  • Claire Gorfinkel, member of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and retired staff person with the American Friends Service Committee
  • Jill Shook, GPAHG
  • Anthony Manousos (organizer and Quaker)
 
Gathering place: We plan to gather in northeast corner of the parking lot behind Church's Chicken. To make sure there is room, please park your car elsewhere, such as the  street or the CVS or Vallarta parking lot. Our plan is to form a circle similar to the one we formed during our March 11th prayer vigil. See  https://laquaker.blogspot.com/2018/05/prayer-vigil-consecrates-south-heritage.html
 
The schedule:
 
We are asking people to come at 7:00 pm so we can start promptly at 7:15. There will be approx. 35 minutes for religious leaders to speak, so please be brief and respect the time for others. Here's our schedule:
 
7:15-7:20: Intro by Anthony Manousos
7:20-25: Prayer/reflection by Pastor Turrentine
7:25-30: Pastor Campbell
7:30-36: Claire Gorfinkel
7:35-40: Tarek Shawky
7:40-7:45:  Spontaneous prayers by and for those who are homeless
7:45-50: Closing words and send off by Jill Shook
7:50: 8:00  Muslim call to prayer and time for reflection.
8:00-9:00 Shared meal and candlelit vigil on the street in front of Church's Chicken
 
Sleepover:
 
11:00 pm -- dawn -- Sleepover on Fair Oaks for those who wish to take part.
 
Church's Chicken closes at 10 pm. Our sleepover will take place approx. one hour after closure. We plan to sleep on the sidewalk on Fair Oaks in front of the cyclone fence, where we will hang our banner. Please bring your own sleeping bags and mats, no tents. According to what I have heard from the police commander Cheryl Moody, we have a legal right to sleep on the sidewalk so as long as we don't impede pedestrian traffic. Additionally, we are exercising our right to free speech and religious expression since this sleep over is our way of communicating our concerns about Pasadena's growing homelessness crisis. So far, five or six men have said they are sleeping over. If you want to join us, please contact me.
 
Food: We received a $200 donation from the Quaker Meeting plus a $20 donation from Tom Petersmeyer to cover our banner and purchasing food from Church's Chicken.  This is a good start but probably not enough. We are hoping that attendees will contribute enough to cover all the food for those who are homeless. If not, I will cover the difference.
 
Banner and candlelight vigil: We have an 8-foot banner with the words of the prophet Isaiah: "House the Homeless" (Isaiah 58:7) At Heritage Square SouthParticipants in the vigil will silently hold this banner in front of Church's Chicken from 7:00- 9:00 pm.

Monday, June 4, 2018

HOUSE PASADENA’S HOMELESS SENIORS! Interfaith vigil during Ramadan and the Poor Peoples Campaign calls on elected officials to take action.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Event: HOUSE PASADENA’S HOMELESS SENIORS! Interfaith vigil during Ramadan and the Poor Peoples Campaign calls on elected officials to take action.

When: Friday, June 8, from 7:00 pm until dawn.

Where: At Heritage Square South, on the corner of Orange Grove and Fair Oaks (behind Church’s Chicken).

Contact: Anthony Manousos. 625-375-1423 or interfaithquaker@aol.com.

Pasadena, CA: On Friday, June 8, from 7:00 pm till dawn Muslims, Christians, Jews and other people of faith and conscience will gather for an intergenerational interfaith vigil and “sleep over” on the corner of Orange Grove and Fair Oaks (behind Church’s Chicken) to call attention to the urgent need for permanent supportive housing in Pasadena. They will worship together, provide Church’s chicken for  homeless residents, and urge elected officials to use this site for which it was originally purchased fifteen years ago, namely, affordable housing.  

The need for action is urgent. The latest homeless count in Pasadena shows that the number of unsheltered homeless residents living on the streets increased 33% last year, with the number of those over 50 years old increasing by 65% over the last three years. Last year the total count was 575; this year it’s 677.[1]

“Elderly people are sleeping in bushes and dying on our streets,” says vigil organizer Anthony Manousos, a Quaker peace and justice advocate. “That’s why I and others are fasting and praying that our City Council will take action as soon as possible to address this crisis. Even though permanent supportive housing is the best evidence-based practice to end homelessness, the Pasadena City Council does not currently have any plans to build permanent supportive housing despite the urgent need. We know Pasadena can do better. We reduced homelessness by 54% in the past, and we can and should do better in the future.”

Tarek Shawky, a Muslim attorney, explained why he feels led to support this vigil and spend the night at Heritage Square South:

"Ramadan is a month of faith, reflection and service. Homelessness and housing is a major challenge in Pasadena and LA County and as faith communities we stand together to serve and raise awareness in the hope of alleviating this crisis. I want our city leaders to know we expect them to follow through on plans to provide senior homeless housing at this location for folks who would otherwise have nowhere to live."

He also had a personal reason to take part in this vigil: "Whenever I walk around Old Pasadena with my 6-year-old son he reminds me that we can't just walk by our homeless neighbors without doing our part to help.  I'm trying to do my part along with other faith leaders and I hope that together our voices will be amplified and make a difference."

This event is also taking place during the 40 days of action of the Poor People’s Campaign—a revival of a campaign started by Rev. Martin Luther King in 1968. During the final year of his life, Dr. King called for economic justice, especially housing justice, to end poverty. Thousands of demonstrators are protesting and getting arrested around the nation in order to call attention to the urgent issue of poverty in our country.

Bert Newton, founder of the Palm Sunday Peace Parade (which helped launch the Poor People’s Campaign in Pasadena this spring), explains why he will be spending the night at Heritage Square South.

We are in a severe housing crisis,” says Newton, a homeless service provider. “Homelessness is spiking in Pasadena again. As a person of conscience and faith, I cannot simply stand by and watch people suffer and die on the streets. The problem of homelessness is complicated and difficult to solve, but here we have an opportunity to actually do something to save some people from the miserable fate of spending their senior years in homelessness. If spending the night outside will call attention to the problem and help get this project underway, how can I not do it?”

This action is being organized by the Greater Pasadena Area Affordable Housing Group (GPAHG), which formed a subcommittee to urge the Pasadena City Council to use the South Heritage Square property to house homeless seniors. To find out how you can take part, contact Anthony Manousos at interfaithquaker@aol.com or 626-375-1423.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Join us for an interfaith prayer vigil and shared meal on Friday, June 8, at 7 pm at Heritage Square South


Join us for an interfaith prayer vigil and shared meal on Friday, June 8, at 7:00 pm at Church’s Chicken, 710 N Fair Oaks (on the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange Grove)

This property (known as South Heritage Square) was purchased by the city of Pasadena
fifteen years ago with HUD and other funding for affordable housing and could house 69 homeless seniors, but it has been left vacant, except for being leased to Church’s Chicken. Thanks to Vice Mayor John Kennedy, who brought this to the attention of the City Council, we now have a golden opportunity to support using this land for “mixed use”—commercial development plus permanent supportive housing for homeless seniors (which can be funded through federal, state and county sources).  
Our action will bring together Muslims, Christians, Jews and other community members who care about social justice and the poor. We’re gathering during the month of Ramadan, so please consider fasting during this day, if you feel so led, to be in solidarity with the poor. Some of us are also planning to sleep out on the street after this vigil and you are welcome to join us. If you feel led, please also consider paying for the meal of a homeless neighbor.  
This action is part of the Poor People’s Campaign, which was started by Dr. King fifty years ago and has been revived by Rev. Will Barber, in a nation-wide effort to call attention to our nation’s escalating poverty.  
For more info, contact Anthony Manousos at interfaithquaker@aol.com and 626-375-1423